WELLINGTON, April 19, 2002 - When Wellington City Council put out a request for proposal in 1999 for a new interactive library system, it required a solution provider that could both dramatically change its customer interface as well as have the server processing power to cater to its high-volume, high-circulation business.
With a business mission to be "the first choice of Wellingtonians seeking to enjoy and benefit from fact and fiction," Wellington City Library wanted to take customer user experiences to a new level. The library's previous system was struggling to meet the needs of users -- installed eleven years earlier, it required more functionality and flexibility.
"The previous system that we had was great but the growth of the library and customer requirements meant that our needs had effectively overtaken it," says Jane Hill, Wellington City Council Libraries Manager.
The Council also sought a system that reflected the changing way library customers were using its services. Increasingly, library users wanted access outside of normal business hours and feedback indicated that business customers in particular wanted information on their desktops at times that suited them.
"With 108,000 card holders, what we required was a system that could provide more customer satisfaction by quick delivery of high quality information, as well as having a friendly, interactive face at hours that suited the users of the information," says Jane Hill.
The CARL.Solution 'Solution' -- Based on Reliability and Flexibility
From the request for proposal process, the solution Wellington City Council eventually selected was CARL.Solution. CARL.Solution is based on Compaq's NonStop Himalaya Server, with significant processing power that allowed the Council to meet all of its requirements in terms of personalization and convenience.
The Library Corporation produces CARL.Solution. Today, 25 years since its original creation, over 1,000 libraries at 32 sites use CARL.Solution, including some of the busiest libraries in the world, library consortia, school library systems, and academic libraries.
"CARL.Solution is a fully Web-enabled solution that offers hardware, software and support to Wellington Library. It is extremely customer-focused with appealing public access interfaces and graphics, which are intuitive for all users. Importantly, thanks to Compaq, CARL.Solution is based on a stable server platform that can be counted on for zero downtime and has the processing power to handle the transaction volume of some of the world's busiest libraries," says Annette Bakhtiar, CEO of The Library Corporation.
Mike Hill, Compaq New Zealand's Director Enterprise Solutions & Services Group, says that Compaq has been a long-term alliance partner with the CARL Corporation (CARL Corporation is now owned by The Library Corporation) because of its ability to deliver a reliable and powerful platform for its library systems:
"Libraries like that of Wellington City Council require platforms that are proven in supporting very large databases and quantities of information, that they know won't fail and can meet the library's continuing growth with linear scalability. The NonStop Himalaya server's ease of integration with other existing systems, its fault tolerant design and ability to run millions of transactions with no loss of information or downtime means it is the ideal partner for the The Library Corporation's system," he says.
"NonStop Himalaya servers run 80% of worldwide ATM machines, 66% of worldwide point of sale machines and 106 of the 120 world stock exchanges, which gives a pretty clear picture of the processing power of these servers. What this means for our customers is that they can have the confidence and ability to run their day-to-day businesses without interruptions from technology downtime or information being unavailable," Mr. Hill says.
The initial installation at Wellington City Library required support for 200 terminals for staff and the public in the central city library and in 11 branches. The levels of personalization that the system would deliver to end users, along with the ability to handle high volumes of simultaneous users, was made possible by the NonStop Himalaya server.
"We wanted to implement a reliable and progressive system that was already being used by real people in real libraries. One of the attractive features of CARL.Solution is the reliable platform it is based on and the functionality having such powerful processing power can deliver us. It means that we can assure customers that personalized information will be delivered to their desktops outside of usual business hours when they need it, creating their own virtual branch," says Jane Hill.
In addition to being ideal from a technical perspective, the Nonstop Himalaya servers also represent world-class technology at an affordable price. Standish Group reported that NonStop Himalaya servers deliver the lowest total cost of ownership of all enterprise-class systems, compared to UNIX, Windows and IBM systems.
"The NonStop Himalaya servers are designed for continuous availability and I can report that last year, 96% of Himalaya servers installed had zero downtime. The Wellington City Library S-series Himalaya server package has two processing units which means that it caters for any failure of any part at any time, and can give their customers continuous 24 hour access to their system," says Mike Hill.
The End Result - Something for Everyone
Wellington City Libraries have a significant proportion of Maori and Pacific Island users who may prefer to browse catalogues in their first language. In the first phase of its rollout, CARL.Solution at Wellington will have a multilingual interface for these users so they can fully utilize the new services available without language being a barrier. There are future plans to extend this to other languages such as Chinese and Indian and another benefit of the NonStop Himalaya server means that this growth can occur without disrupting any aspect of the system.
In addition, around one third of the library's users are children. To meet their needs, Wellington Library has chosen an exciting and highly visual interface for children.
"Our younger users are increasingly computer-savvy. To meet their needs we have selected an exciting interface, CARL.Solution's Kid's Catalog Web. The catalog allows children to search for materials by pointing and clicking on colorful icons. Or, if they choose to search by text, the catalogue takes into account spelling mistakes by offering correctly spelt alternatives so children find the item they are looking for," says Jane Hill.
Library staff administration functions are also made easy with the graphical modules available in CARL.Solution allowing individual interfaces for circulation, acquisitions, serials and cataloging. The client-server software features easy navigation and increases productivity, improves workflow, reduces staff training needs, and minimizes maintenance with easy network updating of the client software.
"What we have achieved with this solution is a high-quality library system that will change the way our customers interact with us. Thanks to the stable Compaq Himalaya server that CARL.Solution is based on we also have confidence that the system we have selected will be available whenever we, or our customers need it, representing our commitment to best of breed technology," says Jane Hill.
About The Library Corporation (TLC)
The Library Corporation, headquartered in Inwood, West Virginia, with regional offices in Denver and Singapore, was founded 27 years ago and has a singular mission: to enhance the library experience for librarians and their patrons.